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NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Canadiens vs. Wild (Jan. 24)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Canadiens vs. Wild (Jan. 24) article feature image
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Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Cayden Primeau.

  • The Wild are a massive favorite over the Canadiens on Monday night, with the total at 6 and even 6.5 at some sportsbooks.
  • The Habs have been a little better over the last week, losing to the Avalanche and Knights in overtime after beating the Stars on the road.
  • But Carol Schram thinks Montreal will come back down to earth and is betting the Wild puckline tonight.

Canadiens vs. Wild Odds

Canadiens Odds +265
Wild Odds -320
Over/Under 6
Time 8 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

At the midpoint of the 2021-22 NHL season, the Montreal Canadiens sit in last place in the overall standings. But this esteemed franchise has been moving on up since Kent Hughes was introduced as its new general manager last week.

The Habs have points in their last three games. They hung with the big boys in overtime losses to Vegas and Colorado, as their endless road trip finally winds down.

The 10-game trek wraps up on Monday in Minnesota, against a Wild team that is 5-0-1 in its last six.

Montreal’s long odds are intriguing, but the smart money lies with the home squad.

Canadiens Are Slowly Making Improvements

We often see a team’s fortunes improve when a new coach takes over mid-season, offering a fresh voice and giving players a renewed opportunity to prove themselves.

The Canadiens seem like they’ve been going through something similar now that Kent Hughes is on board. After Hughes’ hiring was announced last Tuesday, Montreal snapped an 0-4-2 winless skid with a 5-3 victory in a very tough barn in Dallas. Then, the Canadiens grabbed single points in overtime losses to Vegas and Colorado.

That’s the first time all season that Montreal has earned points in three consecutive games. The struggling group hadn’t even managed back-to-back wins at any point this year.

That being said, the Canadiens continue to be very shorthanded, due to injuries and COVID protocols. The biggest concern right now is in net, where Jake Allen is sidelined for eight weeks with a lower-body issue.

Sam Montembeault had been carrying the load since late December, and was trending in a positive direction. But he missed Saturday’s game with what has now been identified as a wrist issue, and while the Canadiens have said they don’t think he’ll require surgery, it doesn’t sound like he’ll be back anytime soon.

Enter Cayden Primeau, the club’s fourth option. He delivered an outstanding 43-save effort on Saturday against the very dangerous Avalanche. Michael McNiven, who has never played an NHL game, served as backup.

At this point, it looks like the net will belong to Primeau once again on Monday in Minnesota. And while the 22-year-old has shown that he’s capable of delivering the occasional strong performance at the NHL level, consistency has been an issue for him. This season, he has a .898 save percentage, 3.84 goals-against average and minus-3.8 goals saved above expected in his five games.

Another very odd part of the Canadiens’ recent success is that it has come while the team has been bleeding scoring chances. They were outshot 51-22 in Dallas, 53-27 in Vegas and 46-30 in Denver. The Wild are another dangerous offensive squad, sitting third in the NHL in goals per game, and with decent underlying numbers to back up their firepower.

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Wild Looking Healthy Leading to Break

As hosts of the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day, the Wild started 2022 on the wrong foot — dropping a 6-4 decision to the St. Louis Blues and losing Cam Talbot to injury in the frigid outdoor game. But that brisk event served as a wake-up call — leading to a strong stretch of play where the scorers have been scoring and Kaapo Kahkonen has been excellent while guarding the crease.

Talbot has now been activated and backed up Kahkonen in the Wild’s 4-3 overtime win over Chicago on Saturday. But coach Dean Evason may choose to ride his hot hand against Montreal. Kahkonen is now up to 2.8 goals saved above expected for the year.

On Saturday, the Wild also welcomed back their captain, Jared Spurgeon, who had missed seven games with a lower-body injury. While the Canadiens’ current injured list is as long as your arm, the only Minnesota players who are now sidelined are forward Nick Bjugstad and defenseman Jonas Brodin, both with upper-body issues.

The Wild are wrapping up a three-in-four set, after winning both parts of a home-and-home series against the Blackhawks. After Monday’s game, they’ll enjoy three days off before embarking on a three-game road trip that will take them up to the All-Star break.

Canadiens vs. Wild Pick

It has been so long since we saw Montreal having any success that it’s tempting to chase its longshot odds on Monday. But this is not the time.

The Wild have strung together a series of impressive wins and are once again asserting themselves a team to watch in the Western Conference playoff picture. Offensively, they can strike early and often — a serious challenge for a goalie at Cayden Primeau’s level. And at the other end of the ice, Montreal’s injury-depleted forward group could have trouble scoring — especially if Dean Evason sticks with red-hot Kahkonen.

The time is nigh for the Canadiens to show some regression from their post-Kent Hughes bump. Boost your payout by looking to the Wild for a puckline win.

Pick: Wild on the puckline (-130) | Play down to -140

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